How to Attract Gen Y Customers and Members

Many financial institutions are vying for the coveted attention of that elusive generation, Gen Y.  With pressure on the banking giants from younger generations to reduce hidden fees and increase transparency through movements like Occupy Wall Street and Bank Transfer Day, credit unions and smaller community banks are reaping the rewards.

However, some institutions are still unsure how to market their offerings to the younger, tech-savvy generations. Young and Free Indiana recently released a video that addresses concerns of some Gen Y-ers that credit unions may be too local. As Currency Marketing’s president and Creative Director notes in a blog post, “technology, shared branching and ATM networks go a long way to solving this problem, but the biggest hurdle is perception and understanding.”

See how Young and Free Indiana navigates attracting younger members in the video below.

How are you marketing your offerings to a younger audience? Are you helping to educate your community on the national reach of your financial institution? Let us know by tweeting @Bankingdotcom or responding in the comments section below.

Financial Management Capabilities and Remote Deposit Top Customers “Wish” List

Earlier this month, we hosted a poll and asked our readers, “What one technological feature do your customers ask for the most?” With the myriad of technological features available, we wanted to determine what customers and members are interested in, whether it is mobile banking, remote deposit capture, P2P payments or more.

The results: financial management capabilities, which include budgeting, goal-setting and the ability to see spending/payments all in one place, and remote deposit capture ranked the highest, each claiming 22 percent of the votes. Below is a full breakdown of the results:

To delve into the poll results, Webster Bank, which has more than 180 offices throughout Southern New England and Westchester County, New York, weighed in with additional input from their customers.

Greg Jacobi, Senior Vice President, eBanking, said their customers most often inquire about mobile banking and remote deposit capture for consumers. Webster Bank currently offers mobile Web capabilities, but with the surge of smartphones, users are eager for a mobile app. They have also seen an uptick in their remote deposit capture application for businesses. Greg noted that, “business customers that use remote deposit capture get a tremendous amount of value out of it.” Although it cuts down on bank branch visits, remote deposit capture lets consumers make a deposit on their terms.

Greg adds, “to be honest, we have noticed a trend that customers are not asking (as much) about the marquee features you have in your poll.  Across the industry, they want their existing online banking to be better.  The basics of online banking have not been reconsidered for quite a while.  One path people are taking to get there is PFM.  We love the innovation happening around PFM.  But, I do not think the average customer is asking for it as a separate offering.  They want the benefits of PFM; being able to categorize their transactions, set goals, search better and get useful visualizations of their data integrated into what they already have.”

Are your customers and members asking for the same technological features? Let us know in the comments section below or Tweet @bankingdotcom.

 

Who Are Your Customers? A Breakdown of the New Financial Customer

Consumers are a diverse group, all of whom have different tastes, opinions and feelings toward the products they use and purchase. Financial customers are no different in their diversity, and banks and credit unions have to offer an extensive list of services to retain and attract customers and members. In recent years, through the expansion of new technology products including online banking tools, mobile banking and remote check deposit, consumers are looking for even more diversity from their financial institutions.

To delve into what consumers are looking for, First Data and Market Strategies International conducted a survey of 2,000 U.S. consumers to determine their attitudes toward technology adoption. The results of the study, which are available in a white paper published by First Data, examine the different customer segments on which financial institutions need to focus. Below is a breakdown of the groups:

Consumer Segments 

 

Overview
Fast Trackers Young technology enthusiasts who make and spend money and are always online 

 

Young Aspirationals 

 

Younger consumers who are curious about technology, are budget-conscious and need help saving money
Middle-of-the-Roaders Traditional when it comes to using mobile technology, these consumers like to spend money despite moderate incomes 

 

Value Seekers Financially stable, older consumers who are motivated by rewards and frequently use credit cards 

 

Simplifiers Older, lower-income consumers with simple banking needs who are not that interested in new technology 

 

Conventional Stalwarts Older, traditional-minded consumers who prefer to pay by cash and check, visit their bank often and use technology lightly 

 

What consumer segments are you catering to at your FI? Let us know in the comments section below, or Tweet @bankingdotcom.

 

Have You Set Up Your Social Strategy Yet?

The Banking.com Staff regularly discusses with our readers the use of Web 2.0 tools such as social media to increase customer engagement and retention. Christophe Langlois of Visible Banking agrees that a concrete Twitter strategy is a great way to build on customer retention, relationship management and overall customer satisfaction with your financial institution.

Christophe speaks specifically about using Twitter and social media platforms in a recent video to ensure that banks and credit unions are properly servicing their customers and members through quick and reliable customer service.  In an age of virtual banking, any customer with a complaint makes a larger splash online due to the transparent and public nature of social media.

Social platforms are an important theater in which FI’s can turn an angry customer into a brand ambassador. Some prime examples of how FI’s are using social platforms to better serve their customers include: Bank of America, American Express, BNP Paribas Bank, Wells Fargo and Webank, amongst others. Since Twitter is transparent and public, FI’s can help sway public perception for the better by responding and reaching out to customers to solve their problems.

You can watch the full video at Visible Banking.

Have you designed a twitter or social media strategy for your financial institution? Is social media helping with customer engagement and retention? Tweet @bankingdotcom or let us know in the comments below.

Don’t Give Customers a Reason to Look Elsewhere

In all the frenzy of this past Holiday season, you may have overlooked Apryl Motley’s piece on “Smarter Service” in the December 2010 Independent Banker; it’s definitely worth a read.  Consumers today expect more from their community banks than ever before, and they want a lot of added value in the services they get. Motley stresses that a multichannel approach to user-driven technology (many of which a bank already deploys across its many operations) can help retain and cross-sell customers.

She emphasizes four key channels of customer engagement as prime examples:  integrated voice recognition systems (IVRs); ATMs; microsites; and online personal financial management tools – and Motley stresses that the bank needs to better integrate and coordinate these services to enhance the customer experience.  For example:

Presenting a Stronger Voice: Believe it or not, voice is still among the most powerful channels. With the integration of IVRs, telephone banking systems and core banking systems, customers can make deposits at the ATM and then call to verify those deposits.

Personalized ATM Service: Along with valuable information, what customers want most are high levels of speed and service, and they don’t want to sacrifice one to get the other. Smarter technology is enabling ATMs to “listen” to a bank’s customers.

Making the Most of Microsites: Stand-alone microsites (like Savehardspendsmart.com, launched by $11B Umpqua Bank in Roseberg, OR) are mini-websites that provide targeted interactive news and resources on a particular topic, product or service – customers want to rely on their bank as a trusted resource for important information.

Show Them Their Money: The ability to give customers insights about their finances without them having to do much work is driving customer adoption of online personal financial management tools; some banks are revisiting the integration of online banking and PFM applications so that customers have to log in only once to get access to a “hub for managing their accounts.”

What are you doing to coordinate your channels of customer engagement? We’d like to hear.

Consumers Use Mobile Devices to Call Toll Free

A recent IDC Financial Insights survey found respondents interact with their financial institution using their mobile device, however not for the reasons many may think.

The majority of respondents used their mobile device to call into their bank’s toll-free number. The breakdown can be seen in the graph below:

With new statistics surfacing every day surrounding mobile banking, the IDC survey showed consumers primarily use their mobile devices to make phone calls. The data also indicated age was not a huge factor when determining whether an individual dialed toll-free – across all demographics, the toll-free number was the preferred way to interact with their financial institution using a mobile device.

Additional insight on the survey can be found here. Are you remembering to think of all the possible channels to reach your customers, even the most basic?

Resolution #1? Help Your Customers Reach their Resolutions

With the first week of 2011 coming to a close, many consumers are still in the midst of creating resolutions and plans for the New Year. While weight loss continually tops the list year after year, financial institutions should keep in mind many Americans also make it a goal to get out of debt and become financially fit as well.

In fact, a recent study conducted by the Chase Slate-U.S. News Consumer Monitor found that Americans are generally more optimistic in terms of financial planning heading into the New Year. Over half of the respondents had little to no anxiety about their finances in 2011, 6 in 10 believing that the economy was improving.

Gen Y shows the highest levels of optimism, mentioning they would work toward saving money and managing finances better. The survey found that planning translates into confidence – 18-34 year olds are more likely to believe that both the economy and their personal finances are getting better than other age groups.

The beginning of the year is the perfect time to re-evaluate the tools you have in place to help all of your customers reach their goals. Specifically, take a look at how you reach different segments of customers. What are your resolutions for reaching Gen Y? Women? Boomers?

Leave a comment below to offer insight on your 2011 plans!

Giving Thanks to Your Customers & Members

Thanksgiving, which was first celebrated in 1621 by colonists and Native Americans, has evolved into a National holiday that is now celebrated on the last Thursday of each November. A day of feasting, family and football, Thanksgiving is also a day to give thanks to those around us, including loyal customers and members.

Here are some fun Thanksgiving facts from History.com to share with your customers and members:

  • The first Thanksgiving meal did not feature cakes, pies or other desserts because the Pilgrims had no oven, and their sugar supply ran low during the Mayflower voyage.
  • In 1789, George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation.
  • New York was the first state to adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday.
  • During the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week to encourage retail sales.
  • The famous Macy’s day parade in New York City began in 1924.

For more fact or fiction tips, visit History.com’s Thanksgiving quiz.

And remember, Thanksgiving quickly transitions to Black Friday, the beginning of the holiday shopping season. It is the perfect time to encourage customers and members to start and stick to a budget in order to start the New Year off financially sound.

Happy Thanksgiving from the staff at Banking.com!

Focusing On Member Service

Between serving customers/members, managing employees and day-to-day operations, running a financial institution can be a daunting task. John Franklin, executive vice president and chief operating officer for the Credit Union National Association, offers advice about staying focused on member service:

“The challenge is to delegate responsibility for handling distractions while maintaining your focus on member service. Let your capable staff deal with the distractions. Clearly define your desired results and expected completion dates, and provide resources and training to enable success.

When it comes to training, don’t reinvent the wheel. There are many excellent training programs and tools to help you with regulatory compliance, human resource issues, and other facets of credit union management (visit training.cuna.org).”

For more insights on member service, visit Credit Union Magazine.

Personal Finance Websites & Online Banking

In recent years, personal finance websites like Mint.com have become increasingly popular as consumers look for ways to integrate their personal finances into one location. One site, Rudder, closed this month.

For financial institutions, the loss of another personal finance website presents the opportunity to reach customers and members by offering personal finance management (PFM) tools through the institution’s online channel. Many banks and credit unions already offer such tools from companies such as Intuit Financial Services, Fiserv, FIS, Online Resources, and Yodlee. Mark Schwanhausser of Javelin Research puts Rudder’s demise and the opportunity for financial institutions in perspective:

“It is a mistake to interpret Rudder’s demise as evidence that consumers don’t want PFM capabilities. They do, as our upcoming PFM report drives home. They hunger for a better way to see all their accounts consolidated in one place, and banks and credit unions are the logical place to do so. Banks and credit unions that recognize that will win the real battle: to become a consumer’s primary FI.”

Schwanhausser’s full blog post can be found here. Is your FI offering PFM tools to users? Let us know in the comments section below.